I believe that everyone is creative but not everyone is an artist. As an arts in health professional, I think it’s super important for everyone to find their creative outlet and use it frequently as a means of health and mental wellbeing.
If you are looking to start a creative practice here’s some information on why it’s important, how to find yours and how to keep it going.
Here are 12 reasons why art making is important to our health and wellbeing:
Before we had written languages, we had art making with pictures on rock surfaces. The images depicted were things that were important to those civilizations.
When we are making art it’s a different experience than everyday tasks and therefore our minds and bodies react differently.
Spending time to create art can slow and steady breathing, reduce cortisol levels and heart rate.
Flow state is a meditative state where you are so focused on a task that time seems to fly by, stress levels are reduced and you are working in a positive freeing moment.
Some creative processes can be meditative and an easy way to jump into flow state. Such practices are very focused and have repetitive actions, like knitting, weaving, tai chi, ceramics and even chopping vegetables.
Compared to most western medical practices, making art has no side effects and can provide physical and social improvements.
Sometimes when we are experiencing something difficult and stressful, art making can be a positive distraction from the pain or worry we are experiencing.
Every art medium is about self expression and having that opportunity can help you connect with yourself and those around you.
In art making, we can embrace what makes us unique and different from everyone else and celebrate it because we all have our own ways of creating.
Being part of a group of people working in the same creative ways can help us build a community who enjoy the same practices.
Sometimes art can help us process emotions and perspectives that are hard to deal with in the day to day.
Art making in a healthcare setting can give back a sense of control, identity and hope to someone while in a healthcare facility.
How To Get Started
I want you to think and write down creative activities that you enjoy doing. Whether or not you think you’re good at them, is not important. What are creative activities that you enjoy doing that make you lose track of time? When do you feel free and relaxed?
Maybe dancing? Singing? Painting? Drawing?
Can you make time to do something 15-30 min each week? Everyday?
Setting New Habits
We all set out with best intentions all the time to add habits to our schedule, but it’s a lot easier said than done. An easy way to add a new thing to your routine is to attach it to another thing you are already doing like – for example, after you eat lunch – can you draw or dance or sing for 15-30 min?
When trying to add new habits, give yourself an out and be realistic about your expectations. Give yourself some parameters like a minimum and maximum time to do the new thing, like – minimum of 5 minutes and a max of 30 minutes every week or every day.
This gets your brain in gear to think about doing the thing in a consistent way and then gets you out of the habit of berating yourself if you only get to do it for 5 min, because even those 5 minutes are a success to creating a new habit.
Most importantly, enjoy what you are doing. Having a creative practice is taking yourself back to kindergarten and allowing yourself to just PLAY! It is so important to leave all of the self-judgement, criticism and expectations at the door when jumping into being creative.
This is for you, be nice to yourself and enjoy the journey of creativity. . . .
Don’t Forget To Keep It Simple!
Find what part of your routine you can add
a bit of creativity to.
Make a minimum and maximum commitment
to this new journey
Don’t forget to have fun and be free!